Insufficient relief forces many flood victims to starve

Mahamudul Hasan and KM Golam Rabbani . Kurigram | Published: 01:06, Aug 18,2017 | Updated: 01:14, Aug 18,2017


Insufficient relief was forcing most of the flood victims to starve in many parts of the remote flood affected areas in Kurigram district.
During visits to different flood affected areas of Kurigram Sadar, Nageswari and Fulbari Upazilas in the last two days, it was found that most of the flood victims were yet to receive government relief materials.
In such a situation, prime minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to visit Dinajpur and Kurigram on August 20.
She will distribute relief materials among the flood victims at Panga High School ground at Rajarhat Upazila in Kurigram district.
Displaced by the deadly flood, middle-aged Moktar Hossain along with his three family members took shelter on a narrow and muddy embankment at village Islampur of Char Berubari union under Nageswari Upazila seven days ago.
But in the last seven days his family members received only one kilogram of rice from the government.
Like Moktar’s family, 180 other families, who have also taken shelter on the embankment with their livestock, received only one kilogram of rice each in the last seven days.
Talking to New Age on the embankment on Thursday, Moktar said that they were hungry and eagerly waiting for relief materials as they had almost been starving since Tuesday.
‘But none came to offer us any relief such as food and other basic aids like clean water and toiletries,’ he said.
Moktar said that he used to earn livelihood for his family by pulling a van but his van remained idle as they were water marooned.
Shobe Khatun, a 55-year-old widow, said, ‘It becomes difficult for me to survive without required relief materials. I have been taking one meal a day since last Friday,’
Local UP member Shahadul Islam said that he had asked for 1.5 tonnes of rice to meet the demand of the families that took shelter on the embankment.
‘Against the demand I received only five sacks of rice for the 180 families,’ he said.
Similar situation was found at Sabujbag Govt Primary School at Char Berubari where 50 families have taken shelter with livestock.
Mohammad Hossain Ali told New Age at the school premises that he could save only tin sheds of his house and two cows before the flood water washed away his homestead on last Friday night.
‘We were desperately waiting for relief for survival since taking shelter here but none came to us until Wednesday noon. A group of people provided each of us one packet of cooked rice with curry on Wednesday night,’ he said.
Ali said that they would not survive if some local people had not provided them of some rice.
At Char Berubari No. 1 Govt Primary School sheltered flood victims claimed that they received only two kilograms of rice each from the government in the last seven days.
Aged Rabeya Begum, who is also a widow, said that insufficient relief might force her to starve. ‘I am taking only one meal in a day to survive since last Friday,’ she added.
Abu Saleh Mohammad Ferdous Khan, deputy commissioner of Kurigram district, however, did not deny the claims of the flood victims but said they were distributing relief materials on priority basis.
According to Kurigram district relief and rehabilitation officer Md Enamul Hoque, 4.54 lakh people of the district were badly affected by the flood and of them around two lakh people had taken safe shelters.
He said that they had already distributed 51.38 tonnes of rice but could not cover all the flood victims. ‘We have only 50 tonnes of rice in stock for distribution among the flood victims,’ he added.  

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